Thursday, February 19, 2015

Week Bazillion and A Trillion to Go.

Konnichiwa Kazoku!

Nihongo muzukashi desu! (Japanese is hard!) Holy cow, but I've sure learned a lot in the past two weeks! Yesterday marked exactly two weeks since I've been here, and it seems like an eternity and a blink of an eye all at once. I can't believe I'm out here serving a mission. I'm so excited for the coming weeks. My Japanese is still very rudimentary but also it is improving so quickly. It is astounding the amount you can learn under the influence of the Holy Ghost. The gift of tongues is real! In Preach My Gospel, there is a section in chapter 4 about spiritual gifts, and how we should seek after those gifts from God. At this point in my life the gift of tongues is pretty crucial for me, so it is something that I ask for daily as I try to learn this foreign language. It really is a blessing! 

I can't even remember very much of what has happened this week, it has been such a blur! We got a new teacher this week. She is really awesome and an inspiration to me. She is really loud and outgoing, and she said before she got to the MTC for her first time, she didn't know any Japanese either, so it gave me hope that I can one day speak as well as she does. Eto, I'm trying to think. (In Japanese they say, eto, or ano, instead of umm, or uh..) We had our first TRC which is where members of the church volunteer to speak with missionaries in order for us to practice teaching and speaking Japanese in a less formal, and in a low key environment. It was fun! The people we got to speak to helped us a lot with what we didn't know and it was fun to even just try having a conversation in Japanese. Haha we are soooooooo bad, but hey. 

I actually like class time, because we can ask questions and we learn so much in just a few hours. I would have to say, however, that I think that Personal Study time is my favorite. I've decided that during Personal Study I'll read whatever suits my fancy for the first 30 minutes, and then focus on our "investigator" lessons for the rest of the time, but as I've been just reading through the Book of Mormon, I feel a sense of peace and calm, and I just feel like it has brought a spirit into my life that is different from just studying any doctrinal text. I had the opportunity to be a person for "mogi" in front of my whole class. (Oh, Mogi is like.... role playing.) I chose a certain person I know to pretend to be, and I was the investigator with my teacher, Smith Shimai. It was a cool experience! It helped me to understand maybe some questions that investigators have that they might be too confused or shy to ask, and it was actually really refreshing to think about missionary work from the perspective of the investigator. I felt like I could take what I learned from that experience and apply it to my own personal techniques and learning. 

I saw Savanna Galloway! It was really weird! I have been looking for her, and yesterday morning as we were getting done with GYM, she came out of her residence! It was fun to see another familiar face! I didn't have my camera on me or would have gotten a picture, however, it happened none the less. I also see Zach Flemming everywhere, too. All of us Asian peoples. Just stuck here for forever. Okay, its really not that bad. I'm actually really happy this week. Here is an example. We had to plan a lesson for our new investigator, and we went in to teach and it was SO BAD! Ressun wa dame desu! It was like so bad that I was just trying not to laugh the whole time. We had no idea what we were saying and of course, being expected to teach lessons in JAPANESE is pretty interesting bahahahahhhaaaahahahh! However, afterwards, I felt really crappy about it, and we (me and Lowe Shimai) went into a room together and said a prayer and we just started laughing because we realized how dumb we sounded. It was a big change from the first lesson we had when we came back wondering whether or not we would ever learn Japanese. 

This morning I woke up and thought, "WOW, WHAT THE HECK. I'M LEARNING JAPANESE! I'M GOING TO JAPAN!" It is amazing how much trust God has in each of us senkyoshitachi (missionaries). 

So, you want a run down of a "typical" day eh? Umm. I get up, eyes glued together. I'm on the top bunk so I have to be careful that I'm awake enough to hop down from my tower of terror and make it without breaking something or someone. Yeah. Let me explain my bed. So there are 6 beds, 3 bunks in our room. We only use four of them because there is just four of us now. We all are in the back of the room in the two bunks that are the closest together. My bunk is the only one that isn't pushed against a wall, so I have nothing keeping me from falling of on one side, and a joke of a railing on the other. It is a blessing that I don't move much in my sleep. Thank you body. Anyways, we get ready for GYM. We always have GYM first thing in the morning.  Then we grab a sack breakfast. Usually I just get milk and cereal because, yeah, I like cereal, and then we take it back to our residence. Doing that gives us more time to get ready. Then we shower, etc, etc, and whatever yada yada. It depends on the day, but we usually have three hours of study to start. Personal, Companion, and then Language. Then we have like some time for additional study. Lunch comes next. You know, the food really isn't terrible, it's just kind of repetitive. Mom, I have been eating so much salad that my tongue feels like it will melt sometime soon. Also, I tried Pineapple for the first time, and it's pretty good. I also have cantaloupe every once in a while, and its not my favorite but its fresh. My favorite thing is cookies, chocolate milk and ice cream. They have ice cream Wednesdays and Sundays. Honto suberashii! Then we have 3 hours of class. We have class in the afternoon with Fitzpatrick Kiodai. He's pretty cool. Then we have an hour of TALL time, not my favorite, but its a resource of learning. Then we have dinner. (Repeat in your head the run down I gave of lunch.) And then we have class for 3 more hours with Smith Shimai. Yeah. Then we go home and die. I think writing in my journal is one of my favorite parts of my day. It is like the only time we have to be alone hahahahahahahahahaha. Me an my thoughts. We get along real nice. 

So, someone in our Zone got really super bad Mono, and she was like dying yesterday, and they gave her a blessing and we have all been praying for her to recover quickly, and she literally had a 24 hour turn around. She isn't better, she still has Mono, but we are witnessing the miraculous power of the priesthood here in our own little Zone! It is so cool to see these faithful Elders using the priesthood that they hold and utilizing it in order to bless and help others. Yosh! (Cool!) I'm doing great. I feel all better, still tired, but all better. I have "Kenneth Nose" and it's always runny, but that's nothing new. 

MOM: Thank you so so so so so so soooooooo much for your packages and mail! I loved the quote you sent me, "Courage, dear heart." I love it. I keep it in my Book of Mormon with the Dollar Bill that Scotty gave me a few years ago. You guys always know what to send and how to make me feel better. You are inspired, I know you are to say the things that you say to me. I feel like whatever anyone sends to me is exactly what I needed in that moment on that day. It is really interesting how that works out. The Cheetos are gone. Yes I am disgusting. I ate them all. All by myself. I didn't share them. Everyone ate all the candy you sent me for valentines, so I didn't get much of that, but I ate all the Cheetos by myself. They were a blessing. Oh yes they were. A dear, flaming hot, desirable blessing that came from the home of my parents. Yeeehaw! 

Mom, could you send me like 5 sandwich bags and 5 gallon sized bags? Like Ziploc. I keep wanting them, but I don't want to buy two whole boxes of them here, because I wont use that many. I am finding that the ModCloth skirts you got me are my favorite. Maybe, if they have a navy one or a khaiki color or something you could send it to me? Some of my stuff is kinda hard to wear, or I'm kinda fidgeting with it all day. The jersey stuff I have especially. I don't know. Don't worry about it if it's not available or you don't have money to pay for it. It is just a thought. The shirts I bought from the old lady department are definitely old ladyish, but I usually don't care. I had a tiny little hole in the arm of my owl shirt, and thanks to Dad, and a box of Harry Potter Every Flavored Beans, I was able to sew it right up. Yeah, I'm glad I know how to sew. It took me all of thirty seconds, and I wore it that day. I'm pretty good like that. 

I"m super good at praying now ;) and I'm understanding what I'm actually saying which is good. And also, I can read pretty much all of the Hymns in the Japanese Hymn book I have! Yay!!  I'm not sure what I'm singing but I can read the characters! There are some Nihon-gene that came in this week! (Natives) And they are SOOO CUTE! The girls are at least. They are so polite and helpful and our communication is like baby talk, but they are an inspiration and I feel so grateful I am here at a time when they had Nihon-gene come to the MTC. They are only here for 12 days, but it is still cool all the same! 

We get to go to the temple this afternoon! Yay! We went last week and the Provo temple is beautiful! I loved it so much and can't wait to go back again. It is such a nice break from everything and a great spiritual uplift. I also love the devotionals we have here. There is a lot of inspiration that I get from them. The best one I think was this last Sunday. We had Steven B Allen speak and he supposedly won an Emmy for the Home Front Mormon Commercials in the 70s. Do you remember those at all? The favorite quote I got from that was, "It isn't what you aren't, it's what you ARE! Being yourself is being great!" I just loved it because I have a tendency to compare myself, and especially in this environment it is easy to compare language skills or social skills or nun chuck stills or bow hunting skills, but I just feel really blessed that I am who I am. I feel like I have the weaknesses that I have for a reason, and I know they will help me to learn and grow. 

Well, I really can't think of anything else to tell you. Oh yeah, we had a salsa and chips party last night in our room. Lowe Shimai's aunt sent it and it was pretty good. 

Yes mom, I printed out the letters and then read them and then came back and write you :) I Love you guys SOOOO MUCH. I pray for you each individually to be blessed with everything that you desire and need, and that God will give you strength to bear the burdens that you feel. I pray every day that I will be able to be a good example to someone else and that I can learn to become the best possible missionary that I can be. I pray every day that you are all happy and healthy and that I can make you proud. I love you all so much, and am very thankful that I can email you once a week. It truly is a gift. I love P-Day! I'll write you all back who hand-wrote me letters! 

Ai shite imasu! 

Raines Shimai

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